» Monday, August 2, 2004

Sea Anglers

Asked for a reaction to today's Telegraph report suggesting that the Government was proposing to force sea anglers to buy a £22 permit in order to continue to participate in the sport, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) told journalists that she had had a bet on with a press office colleague that the issue would not be raised at this morning's briefing. Oh well, wrong-footed again. As she understood it, no decisions had been taken at this stage. However, a review relating to marine fisheries and environmental enforcement was currently underway and the issue had been raised in that context.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)


Asked to comment on Spain's reported disapproval of Geoff Hoon's attendance at Gibraltar's tercentenary celebrations on Wednesday, the PMS said that we had a good relationship with Spain, as you would expect. The Spanish were a good EU and NATO partner. We believed it was appropriate for a member of the Cabinet to attend the ceremonies on Wednesday and we didn't see any difficulty in taking that decision.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Home Office

Asked about reports that the Prime Minister was intending to break up the responsibilities of the Home Office, the PMS said that this was an old story. There were no plans for that to happen. It was clearly August.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Al Qaida

Asked for a reaction to the reported discovery that a computer belonging to an Al Qaida suspect arrested by Pakistan last week contained plans for terror attacks on the UK and US, the PMS said that it wasn't our policy to comment on intelligence matters.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

John Scarlett

Asked to confirm or deny allegations that John Scarlett had sent an e-mail to the Iraq Survey Group on March 8 asking them to beef up their report on Iraq's WMD, the PMS said there was no question of Her Majesty's Government, or any Departments agencies - including the JIC and its then chairman John Scarlett - seeking to mislead the ISG in anyway. Asked to deny categorically that Mr Scarlett had sent the e-mail on 8 March, the PMS repeated that she would deny that there had been any attempts to mislead any of the relevant organisations or committees. Asked if the Prime Minister continued to believe that it had been a good idea to appoint Mr Scarlett as the new head of MI6, the PMS said yes.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)


Asked if any action would be taken to tackle the ongoing situation in Sudan, the PMS pointed out that the UN had passed a Resolution on Sudan last week. As Baroness Amos had set out in her Today Programme interview this morning, we wanted the Sudanese Government to do what the UN had asked them to do. The killings needed to be stopped and we had to get humanitarian aid into area. We would await a progress report on the situation once the UN had been able to visit the country.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (13)


Asked the Prime Minister's view on the way English football was being portrayed, the PMS declined what was clearly a generous invitation to comment on the current situation at the FA. The Prime Minister was on holiday and she hadn't spoken to him about the matter.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

IPPR Report

Asked if the Government was concerned about the IPPR's report in which had been suggested that the poverty gap had widened since 1997, the PMS said that it was important to put the report into context. For example, the report also acknowledged that progress had been made in particular in dealing with the problem of child poverty. That said, it was clear that there was still more work to be done. We were expecting a Social Exclusion Unit report on similar issues to be published in the near future. Asked if it was the Government's objective to reduce the gap between the rich and poor, the PMS said that it was the Government's objective to have a fair society.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (20)

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